The first Lutheran worship services conducted in this northern part of the beautiful Barossa Valley were held at what is now known as “Poplar Holme”. It was the residence of Christian Heinrich Roennfeldt and is located half-way between Nuriootpa and Greenock. We are told that the first Christmas service was held under a giant white gum tree on their property in 1849.
Gradually the number of worshippers increased and during 1867 members were busy collecting funds and materials for the erection of their first church building. Members willingly gave time to quarry stone, gather gravel and sand, and cut timber.
First church dedicated
The first church (which has since been demolished and replaced by the current church building) was dedicated on the 10th November, 1867. The original church building, measured 47 feet by 22 feet. In 1868 a school-room was added to this building.
Church enlarged – 1923
The Congregation continued to grow and there was insufficient room for the congregation to gather. It was decided to enlarge the old church, adding a “cross-shape” with a chancel at the northern end. Dedication of the enlarged church took place on the 15th July, 1923. You can still see the foundation stone of this structure preserved in the present tower-wall.
The text on the stone was taken from the Prophet Haggai, Chapter 2 verse 9 – “The latter splendour of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity, says the Lord of hosts”.
Tower and bell added – 1927
It was decided to add a tower to the enlarged church and also to procure a bell. A subscription list began circulating for these projects in 1925. On Sunday, 14th August, 1927 the tower was dedicated. This is still the same tower that is connected to the present church. It cost $1,599 to erect. The bell, pitched in a beautiful rich G sharp, was poured in the Foundry of the Amalgamated Steel-works at Bochum, Germany. The bell cost was $1,400.
Second new church – 1968
The increase in membership of the Congregation made the erection of an entirely new church building imperative. After much planning the new church was dedicated on the 5th May, 1968. A building consortium, consisting of three firms – all members of the local Congregation – undertook this work. The firms were: CO Juncken Pty Ltd, Burley & Mader and VA Liebich. Architects were Breuer von Shramek and Dawes of Melbourne Street, North Adelaide.
The pipe organ, voiced in Baroque style, was installed six months after the dedication of the church in 1968. It was built by Laurie Pipe Organs of Melbourne at a cost of $10,000. There are 2 manuals and foot pedals and the organ has 654 pipes.
The altar in the church is made of Italian marble.
The St Petri story is one of courageous and creative initiative to meet the needs of people in our local community with a strong gospel story to share.
There has been great vision and courageous decision making in the history of our church. We continue to live in that tradition of vision inspired and shaped by God through biblical preaching, rich liturgy and music, diverse care for people, ongoing growth in God’s Word and commitment to contribute to our community. We continue to involve ourselves with God and his mission to share the love and hope of his Son Jesus Christ with everyone.